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On this page:

J.C. Leyendecker
Incubus #3
Micki: Prisoners of Passion now in book form
Angelface #1 and Tug Harder #1
Maurice Vellekoop's Pin-Ups

 

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Entries for November 2008:
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Sunday, November 30, 2008
Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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J.C. Leyendecker

Category: illustration.
Author(s): J.C. Leyendecker.
Year of publication: 2008.


I don't know how long I've been waiting for a book dedicated to J.C. Leyendecker's life and work, or more exactly, one that doesn't hide the artist's gayness and gay appeal. More than a decade, that's for sure.
Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874-1951) was one of the most famous and important commercial illustrators in the USA during the first half of the XXth century. Nowadays, someone like Norman Rockwell, who admired him (and was rather inspired by him at first), is far more famous. In fact, I first heard of Leyendecker through Steve Rude, a comic book artist, whose painted covers were sometimes influenced by Leyendecker. And then, I learned Leyendecker was gay, although completely in the closet for the public during his life. In gay art history books, he was cited as having used his lover, Charles Beach, as a model for his most famous creation, the Arrow Collar Man.
The Arrow Collar Man himselfThis new, 256-page art book, written by Judy and Laurence Cutler, tries to offer a contextualised view of Leyendecker's long and fruitful career in the commercial art world. It opens with a short history of American illustration up to Leyendecker's appearance, and then gives us a biographical sketch, which uses what little is known about the artist's life--his private papers were destroyed by his partner when he died, at his request (that was during McCarthyism, a period not known for its openess toward gay people). Leyendecker, whose star was rising, met Beach in 1903, when the very handsome (and 17-year old) Beach was looking for modelling jobs. He found one, and more, since the two men spent the rest of their lives together, with Beach surviving his partner by only a short time.
who's looking at whom?The writers of the book seem to me to have a balanced view of the relationship, and aren't trying to present it as a model of gay love (if there is such a thing), while stating that it had been long known by gay fans that Leyendecker and Beach had had a long relationship. In fact, they do their best to acknowledge the importance of a gay following for Leyendecker's posthumous fame, as well as the strong homoeroticism of a number of his works, for example with the group paintings showing multiple and ambiguous looking lines between the characters. I only regret that there wasn't room to include more of his drawings and paintings of half-naked athletes, although there are a lot in this book (among about 600 reproductions, from nine a page to double-page spreads).
I know I'll be leafing through this book again and again. There are so many beautiful works that need to be stared at that this isn't a book that should shelved any time soon.

and one last for the road...If you want to know more about the artist, there are a number of biographical pieces on the web. Here are a few: Wikipedia and Bud Plant, as well as this one (the most detailed one) and glbtq.com for a more gay point of view. There are numerous galleries, like this one or this one, and for a lot of male art, look here and here. The book is available from Amazon.


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Saturday, November 29, 2008
Review update
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Incubus #3


Author(s): Yayoi Neko.


coverThe third volume of this story of love against impossible odds fleshes out some of the secondary characters from the previous volumes, and introduces new ones. Writer and artist Yayoi Neko has a knack for extended scenes exploring every facet of a character's psyche, and her talent is put to good use in this volume.
Kent, the demon who attacked Judas and Lenniel back in volume 1 to try and restore the health of Alexi, his injured young lover, is losing hope of ever succeeding in getting his lover back. Alexi is in fact lost in an internal landscape where he meets the creature responsible for his current catatonic state. Azazel, a kind of former angel, has a very good reason (and it's not love, this time) for trying to kill the young man, who couldn't hope to survive an encounter with the formidable demon...if it wasn't for Lenniel, who's decided to protect him where Kent can't. And so, three demons of various ranks are gathered around Alexi, a mere human with a startling secret. Kent and Alexi
The three demons and the three humans attached to them (Azazel has his own lover, a young man who isn't much more morally admirable than his immortal boyfriend), compose a fascinating array of relationships between two beings. The author obviously want to have the opportunity to talk about love, and the many shapes it can take, from the most equal to the most abusive.
Over the 300 pages of this volume, the reader is taken on a wild ride, with scenes of loving, fighting and introspection. From Heaven before the Fall to the modern days, with some strong illustrative pages which would have deserved to be printed in a larger format to be fully enjoyed. Or maybe I'm just getting old.
Azazel...preeeetty, but deadlyThe author also seems to be having fun with yaoi conventions: Kent and Alexi are in the master/butler mold, Judas the student is in love with his unattainable teacher (making Lenniel's life even more difficult), and now, with Azazel and his lover, we get the androgynous adolescents out of every bad yaoi manga, which Yayoi Neko says she hates. Considering that her four positive characters look more like manly guys, and the two negative like those spindly boys Japanese women seem to love, "hate" is not too strong a word.
This third volume of Incubus brings some resolution to one of the three love stories we've now been following. The last two will no doubt make the next volumes worth waiting for.
You can find the author here, and the book is available from the publisher or Amazon.


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Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Various news
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Micki: Prisoners of Passion now in book form


Author(s): Jörg Meyer-Bothling.


The recently-reviewed Micki: Prisoners of Passion, the second volume in Jörg Meyer-Bothling's series, is now available in print form and pdf version, after an initial eBook version. You can head to Lulu.com to buy the book. It should have good production values, from what I've seen of other Lulu-published books.


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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Angelface #1 and Tug Harder #1

Category: erotica.
Author(s): Benoît Prévot, Butch McLogic.
Year of publication: 2008.


I hadn't reviewed Class Comics' publications in some time, so here are two of the recent ones.

Angelface #1 is the first issue of a translated French comic by a very talented artist, Benoît Prévot (his website is here, and here's a gallery of his art).
Alan and Red enjoying each otherIn 1922 London, Alan and Red are lovers and thieves who've pulled off a very good job, with jewels aplenty for both of them. But Alan dreams of America and leaves his lover, taking the loot with him. Thus begins the chase: they both board ships, Red having to shove coal on his to pay for his passage, while Alan enjoys a passenger ship, and more exactly some of the passengers, all the while amassing yet more money from his unlucky tricks. But there are bigger fishes in the sea than a pretty face with low morals, and some are sharks...
Benoît Prévot has created a wonderfully entertaining tale, all done in sepia colors, with hot sex and attractive rogues drawn with an assured and very illustrative style. He even manages to make us root for Alan when the so-called "Angelface" finds himself in the hands of unsavory characters. The ending of this 32-page comic should make any reader feel like waiting for the next issue, which hopefully will come soon, since it has already been published in French, and the artist is working on the third one.
You can buy Angelface #1 from the publisher.

coverTug Harder #1 is written and drawn by Butch McLogic, a newcomer to the scene.
On a farm run by a horny old man supervising a crew of tough, ex-convicts arrives a man, seemingly in search of a job. But Doug Arder is a kind of covert agent (the cover gives a clue to his true purpose), determined to sample the manly products of the farm.
The men of the farmMcLogic has written an unusual story: while he plays with gay porn clichés (the all-man farm where everybody fucks everybody), he also introduces a few, realistic elements (all those men are homophobic and react badly when they discover who Arder really is), as well as touches of humor and tenderness (look at the bottom row of the excerpt on the right).
I thought the art was wonderful: very expressive and warm, with a use of color that's as striking as it is almost baroque, and a lovingly detailed rendering of the men's bodies and clothes.
The cliffhanger at the end of this first issue is far weirder than what happens in Angelface, and borders on the insane. I'm rather curious to see where McLogic is going with this.
You can buy Tug Harder #1 from the publisher.


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Sunday, November 02, 2008
Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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Maurice Vellekoop's Pin-Ups

Category: erotica, illustration.
Author(s): Maurice Vellekoop.
Year of publication: 2008.


It had been far long since we'd had the pleasure of discovering new drawings by the Toronto-based illustrator Maurice Vellekoop, who's always seemed torn between opera and erotica. Last time, the fat ladies won. And this time, it's all about the boys.
So, Green Candy Press has published a very good looking, large-sized, 120-page collection of all-new, full-page art, divided by the author in various sections (Calendar Boys, Sports, Fantasy, etc.). The volume is introduced by Vellekoop's partner, who tells us about his lover's life and career, his influences and his goals in producing this body of work.

SKA is the Limit, from the Music sectionDaisy Duke, from the Ne'er-do-Wells section

What's particularly interesting is the evolution of Vellekoop's style. While remaining clearly his own, the drawings are a bit less cartoony than they used to, a bit more realistic. At the same time, the bodies are often less bulky, longer and narrower. The reader will have to decide which style he prefers, but both are highly sexy and alluring, in my opinion.
As for the colors, they are as warm and vivid as usual, giving the always ithyphallic male characters depicted here a glow that adds to their attractiveness.
The reader will also have fun spotting the numerous references that pepper the pages: from Star Trek to Da Vinci, from Gainsborough to Greek mythology.
Maurice Vellekoop's Pin-Ups looks like the inside of the artist's mind. Aren't we lucky to have been invited to have a peep?
You can buy the book at Amazon.


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